Mel is shocked to find that her move to Virgin River to escape her past torments is not what she expected; she finds it difficult navigating the new, uncharted waters she has been thrust into.
Little is known about Melinda's early history, other than she moved away from LA to escape the painful memories of her past. It is later revealed that Mel has trouble conceiving, and this negatively affected her marriage with Mark during the later years. After their fifth failed attempt at pregnancy, Mel and Mark disagreed on continuing IVF treatment, with Mark wanting to stop; Mel was reluctant to stop the treatment, however, wanting to have a child of her own with Mark.
On the night of Mark's death, the two were arguing about whether to continue treatment or not. Mel told Mark that she thought they should take a break, and when Mark took his eyes off the road, the two are hit by a truck and Mark was fatally wounded and later died in hospital.
Move to Virgin River
Tired of her current life in LA, and wanting to escape the pain of her past memories, Melinda answers an advertisement for a midwife posted by a doctor in a small country town, Virgin River. Melinda is shocked by what she finds on the move, however, and realizes that the small country town is not what she suspected it would be.
Mel struggles with her new found work friendship with Vernon Mullins, the town doctor. Vernon is adamant that he does not need assistance, and is reluctant to allow Mel to practice medicine, even in emergencies when he is not around until he can prove that she is competent. Mel eventually feels that Vernon is treating her as his assistant, and hands her notice in to Hope McCrea, citing that she will remain in the position until a replacement is found, but will be leaving shortly after.
Eventually, Mel is convinced to stay and proves herself to Vernon when a family are poisoned by Calvin's pesticide. Mel helps Vernon diagnose the cause and Vernon believes that she is now competent to practice; he asks her to stay in Virgin River as the nurse practitioner, and adds her name to the practice sign outside.
Relationship with Jack
Mel begins growing closer with Jack Sheridan when she arrives in Virgin River; there are initially complications, however, given she is grieving and Jack is involved with another woman. The two eventually begin spending time together, however, when Hope asks Jack to ensure that Mel stays in Virgin River.
Eventually, the two have sex with one another, but Mel pulls away, citing that she is not over Mark, and things are moving too quickly for her. After she has a breakdown and leaves Virgin River, things become even more difficult for the two as Jack becomes angry at Mel for leaving without telling or discussing the matter with him. When she returns, she finds it hard to connect with Jack, who is soon revealed to be expecting twins with Charmaine.
Despite the struggles and obstacles to their relationship, the two eventually admit to one another that they are in love with one another, and agree that they will go public with their feelings; this causes issues among the community for Mel, as people begin suspecting that Mel has "stolen" Jack away from Charmaine, however this is not the case, and the two begin exclusively seeing one another.
Struggling with Mark's death
Despite starting to grow closer with Jack, and their eventual relationship, Mel struggles with the loss of Mark, especially when his one year anniversary approaches. Mel believes that things will never get better for her, but is helped through the matter by Hope, who offers her advice on a shared history of losing a husband.
Things become difficult for Mel when Mark's sister, Stacey, arrives in Virgin River and asks for the engagement ring that Mark gave her back. Stacey tells Mel that it was their grandmothers and Mark would've wanted it to stay in the family, but Mel rebukes her citing that she is family — even if Mark is dead. Mel struggles with the concept for a while but eventually decides that the ring is hers and she will not return it.
- She moved from LA to the small town of Virgin River seeking to escape her past and build a better life for herself.
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